It was a first-round playoff match Tuesday , but sure felt like a later-round match for the Laguna Beach High girls' volleyball team.
The Breakers (17-6) rallied from a loss in the first set to win a five-set match against Chino Hills, defeating the Huskies, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 15-10, in the CIF Southern Section Division 1-A playoffs.
The win advanced the Breakers (17-6) to a second-round date Thursday against Louisville of Woodland Hills. The score of Thursday's game wasn't available at press time. The winner advances to a quarterfinal match Saturday .
Chino Hills, which received an at-large berth to the playoffs out of the Sierra League, ended the year 18-12.
"That's the best first-round team we've played in the playoffs, far and away," Laguna Coach Lance Stewart said. "That's a good volleyball team. They served great and made us fight all night."
Alyse Ford recorded 34 kills and seven digs. Libero Francie Holte had 20 digs, Julia Goggin had eight kills and 10 digs, and setter Sevana Drovak had 45 set assists and eight digs.
"I thought Sevana (Drovak) played with a lot of grit and toughness out there, and Francie Holte was absolutely outstanding. She had a lot of key digs and played in control."
Laguna held leads of 17-10, in the first set, and 18-11, in the second set. The teams split the first two sets.
"Up until now, we weren't giving up long runs of points in games," Stewart said. "We did in this game. That's something we can't let happen in the playoffs, and expect to win."
Laguna's march through the CIF Southern Section playoffs came to an end Wednesday in the Division 2 semifinals where the visiting fifth-ranked Breakers were eliminated by No. 2-seed Arcadia, 13-5.
Natasha Keces (6-3), Kira Hamilton (6-3) and Stephanie Tat (6-1) scored wins in singles action. The Breakers' top doubles team of Chloe Mansour/Dominique Willette won two of three sets (1-6, 6-1, 6-4).
Mansour and Willette, who have had an outstanding season, now have a 44-2 record.
Laguna, which won the Orange Coast League title, advanced to the semifinal round after knocking off host Valencia of Valencia, 12-6, in a quarterfinal match Monday . Mansour/Willette swept (6-4, 6-1, 6-0) in doubles and in singles action, 1 Brooke Michaels (6-2, 4-6, 6-2), No. 2 Hamilton (6-3, 6-3, 4-6) and No. 3 Bailey Jaeger (6-2, 5-7, 6-1) each won two of three sets.
Mansour-Willette also earned a sweep (6-0, 6-2, 7-5) on Nov. 2 to help get Laguna past visiting Santa Monica, 10-8, in a second-round match.
Laguna will learn Sunday if it has qualified for the inaugural CIF Regional Tournament. The 32-team event includes teams from the CIF Southern, Los Angeles, Central and San Diego sections. The tournament starts next Tuesday .
The CIF Individuals Tournament starts Nov. 19. Qualifying for the event from Laguna in singles play is OCL champ Michaels and Jaeger. Qualifying in doubles play is OCL champs Mansour/Willette, and Katelyn Bo/Sarah Nederlander.
The Breakers will compete Saturday at the CIF Southern Section preliminaries Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. The CIF Southern Section Championships are Nov. 17, also at Mt. SAC, and the CIF State Championships are Nov. 24 at Woodward Park in Fresno.
At the Orange Coast League Championships Oct. 31 at Centennial Park in Santa Ana, the Laguna girls won the league title. The Laguna boys' team finished in fourth place.
The Laguna girls' team won the league title despite not having key runner Livie Clark (illness) available for the meet. The Breakers scored 35 teams points. Godinez was second with 39 points.
Times turned in by the Laguna girls' varsity runners: Eliza Romero, 18:46 (second-place, all-league); Brenna Merchant (19:13, sixth, all-league); Carlee Ressler (19:19, seventh, all-league); Natalie Kimball (19:23, eighth, all-league); Janie Crawford (19:45); Monica White (20:11); Katie Grayden (20:38).
"I thought the girls really ran strong," Laguna girls' Coach Steve Lalim said. "We were running without Live Clark (sick), someone really needed to step up in order for us to win our fourth league championship in five years. It was a great team effort, everyone from one-through-seven, stepped up.
"This is the time of year that we train for, to run well when it counts. We're ready to keep this momentum going forward."
Times turned in by the Laguna boys' varsity runners: Casiano Koprowski (15:50, seventh, all-league); Grant Barton (15:52, eighth, all-league); Veda Rebollar (16:27, 17th); John Kimball (16:28, 18th); Stone Riff (17:09, 23rd); Kevin Tovar (17:27, 26th).
The CIF Southern Section Division 4 Cross-Country Championships start Saturday with the prelims race at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. The boys' race starts at 9:37 a.m. The girls' race starts at 11:18 a.m.
Boys' Water Polo
Laguna opened CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoff action Thursday against Claremont (Sierra League No. 2). The score from the game wasn't available at press time.
A win sends the Breakers, the No. 3-seed in the division to a quarterfinal game Saturday . The division semifinals are at 5 and 6:30 p.m. next Wednesday at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine.
Laguna (18-10) finished regular-season play on Nov. 2 against Aliso Niguel, and scored a 13-8 win over the Wolverines. Caleb Scott tied for game-high scoring honors with six goals. Maxx McCarter had 10 saves.